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Clever Kid Using celiac disease To Stay Home From School . . .
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My son (7) and I have celiac. We have been gluten free for a little over a year. He gets very few (if any) GI symptoms when accidently glutened - we mostly see a change in behavior that lasts several days then gradually gets better. We can usually figure out a problem (like trouble with a new product) because we both feel bad after eating it. It is sometimes hard to tell if his complaints (or bad behavior) are due to gluten or some other reason.

Lately, I suspect he has been complaining of a stomach ache to get out of things. In the past two weeks I have picked him up from school early because he was complaining. I want to be sure to be there for him when he is sick, but how do I know if he is just taking advantage? He is very clever. On Saturday he said he was not feeling well before his baseball game . . . ended up playing, but not having to play in the field. He still got to bat when it was his turn. He was THRILLED with this arrangement ("I'm like the designated hitter!") and seemed to feel fine once the game was over.

If he is already pulling stunts like this now (first grade) what will it be like in middle school and high school? He knows I am much more likely to be sympathetic to his symptoms (real or pretend) than my husband since I know first hand how yucky it can make you feel.

I've been making "staying home" less and less fun (no TV, no video games, etc.) but he seems ok with that.

He is laying in bed reading right now. He has none of the other "signs" we see (bad behavior, rash around mouth) when he has been cc'd. He looks perfectly fine.

I never want to ignore him when he is actually sick, but how do I trust him to be honest about it?

Cara

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Might want to find out what he is avoiding at school.

The other thing is, no activities, like baseball, if you are sick. No birthday party, no soccer, etc. Maybe sick food shouldn't be "fun" either. No Sprite or Gatorade, just water. Its best for an upset stomach.

Could try being honest. Tell him your not sure he is really sick. You think he is avoiding something he doesn't like. See where the conversation goes from there.

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Validating what he is feeling is important . Many of us went for years with doctors and others making us feel like the pain/symptoms were not real, that it was all in our heads. So letting him know you understand and believe him is important.

At the same time his symptoms are not a free pass from school. Unless he has vomiting /uncontrollable diarrhea/ a migraine or some other severe symptom he needs to be in school. A upset tummy is a sign he needs to be more careful not take a day off from school.

My daughter is having the same issues with my 8 and 6 year old celiac granddaughters.So I can understand. But my opinion is they need to learn how to deal now because this is going to be a life long struggle . How they learn to deal with it now will make a difference later in their life.

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I am glad it is someone else's child and not just mine. : ) I have one daughter who complains of belly aches alot. Some are just because she gets full. Ironically, this is NOT my celiac child. I used to freak out and tell my husband that she was getting celiac. Then we realized it was at bath time, bedtime, and time to clean your room time.

Then she knows that I already fear that she'll get it. She came in this week and said "My belly hurts. Do you think it is celiac?" I sat up and started to ask a bunch of questions and she said, "Just kidding, it hurts because I did the slip-n-slide yesterday!" I hate when she pushes my buttons.

But on your son...just keep doing what you are doing. Maybe ask his teacher what is going on? We have a friend who just found out that their 9 year old daughter was showing up to school in a sling and telling the teacher she couldn't write. She was totally fine. The parents were called. I laughed because it wasn't my child. Anyway, I hope your son IS faking it because I don't want him to be sick that often. I wonder if you said that you'd take him for more blood tests would that jolt him. I said that once to my faker and she told me "Take me. Take me now." I knew then she was serious.

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I am glad it is someone else's child and not just mine. : ) I have one daughter who complains of belly aches alot. Some are just because she gets full. Ironically, this is NOT my celiac child. I used to freak out and tell my husband that she was getting celiac. Then we realized it was at bath time, bedtime, and time to clean your room time.

Then she knows that I already fear that she'll get it. She came in this week and said "My belly hurts. Do you think it is celiac?" I sat up and started to ask a bunch of questions and she said, "Just kidding, it hurts because I did the slip-n-slide yesterday!" I hate when she pushes my buttons.

But on your son...just keep doing what you are doing. Maybe ask his teacher what is going on? We have a friend who just found out that their 9 year old daughter was showing up to school in a sling and telling the teacher she couldn't write. She was totally fine. The parents were called. I laughed because it wasn't my child. Anyway, I hope your son IS faking it because I don't want him to be sick that often. I wonder if you said that you'd take him for more blood tests would that jolt him. I said that once to my faker and she told me "Take me. Take me now." I knew then she was serious.

My DD has done a lot of "I'm not feeling well enough to go to school today" And no : TV, video games or a trip to the DR's , will deter her, and I know she is faking it at least some of the times. I tell her no fever = no stay home from school. The nurse and I are on first name basis and she agrees with my standing. We have an understanding( only if its tummy related) 1st visit gets Tums and a few minutes of rest and back to class, 2nd visit gets a phone call to me and we decide from there if its real or not.

Most of the time there is no 2nd visit and if there is I give it the proper attention. There were 2 occasions when she came home with a fever of over 100 and she said nothing to me or the nurse so sometimes you just never know.

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I wonder if there are issues at school that are making him not want to go. I developed a chronic habit of illness during my 7th grade year by faking sick a lot. When my parents realized there was a pattern, they called me on it, but they also gave a lot of understanding. I was getting bullied at school a lot by other girls, and looking back, I know that was why I just didn't want to go to class. So it's worth talking about why he might not want to go to school, and if it's because other kids are picking on him for being "different" because of his Celiac.

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Here's a different perspective. I had tons of stomach trouble as a kid from food allergies and undiagnosed celiac. (I tested negative for celiac but I was off wheat at the time.) As well as the allergic/celiac stomach trouble, I would get psychosomatic stomach-aches. The stomach-aches were plenty real - I really was in pain - but Mom noticed I was usually OK evenings and weekends and had the most trouble Mondays.

I was apparently having some behavioral problems at school too. I was a pretty anxious little kid, with some depression as well. I'm sure it was the celiac disease messing with my mind. I finally got sent to the school psychologist in second grade. My school was expecting learning disabilities but instead discovered that I was reading well beyond my grade level and was pretty much bored and miserable in class. That lead to anxiety, depression, and the stomach-aches.

I started third grade in a gifted/talented program and things got a LOT better. I stopped avoiding school and was engaged in my lessons. My parents also got me to a child psychologist who taught me some relaxation exercises I could do that would stop the stomach-aches.

So - make sure your celiac-prone kids are not anxious! Look into what they are avoiding and why!

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